With this year’s Winchester Half Marathon fast-approaching, these six simple tips will help you ensure you’re ready to give it your best shot come race day. Remember to check our blog page regularly as we gear up to Sunday 22nd September with training and advice articles.
With this year’s Winchester Half Marathon fast-approaching, these six simple tips will help you ensure you’re ready to give it your best shot come race day.
Remember to check our blog page regularly as we gear up to Sunday 22nd September with training and advice articles.
And, if you haven't signed up yet – there's still time! Join the fun by securing your place now.
Organisation and preparation
Race day nerves affect us all but by preparing items, such as your race number, kit and shoes before the big day, you can minimise stress levels on Sunday morning.
Indeed, by having everything ready to go and your arrangements to get to the start line in check, it means you can simply focus on your running.
Value your warm-up
The hive of activity near the start line will fill you with a mixture of excitement, adrenaline and apprehension.
That’s why completing a 15-20 minute warm-up is important to gradually increase your body temperate and blood flow through to your working muscles.
Luckily, they’ll be a mass participation warm-up outside the Guildhall start but also try and go through your own routines, such as dynamic stretching and easy paced strides to alleviate any stiffness or feeling of cold.
Set two goals
If this is your first half marathon, then it's obviously a bit of a step into the unknown.
Nevertheless, with (hopefully) a good training block behind you – you’re very much on the right track.
Whether your main goal is just to make it to the finish line or achieve a certain time, always ensure you have a back-up objective – just in case the first doesn’t quite go to plan.
Long distance running and racing is very unpredictable, as often, it comes down to how you feel on the day, as well as other factors like conditions under foot.
That’s why it pays to have a secondary target in mind, so you don’t have any feeling of disappointment!
Break your run down… it’s mind over matter
If you're normally a 5km runner or haven't run a half marathon before, then don't panic!
It's useful to break down the distance you'll be running on race day into bitesize chunks. For instance, think of it like you’ll be running just over 5km four times in a row.
By doing this, you can tick off milestones as you go and avoid coming up against any mental blocks.
It should, in theory, make it easier to control the distance in front of you, rather than letting the mileage dictate your race.
Another way to divide your run into segments is to take note of landmarks around the route or even have your friends and family positioned at different points to cheer you on.
Remember, next month’s half marathon is your race.
Only you will know how well your training programme has gone leading into the event and which strategy you’re going to try and execute.
Importantly, stick to your plans and what you know, particularly when it comes to pacing.
The energy of the start line typically makes all runners set off faster than their anticipated paces – and while that’s fine – try and find the right gear for you quickly.
To help runners, they’ll be a large numbers of pacers running in Winchester – and they can guide you to your anticipated finishing time. Find out more information, here (https://winchesterhalf.co.uk/faqs/).
Race hydration and nutrition plan
There are four drink stations during the route – situated at miles 3.5, 6, 8.5 and 11.5 – but you may also want to think about carrying additional gels and hydration with you.
In the build up to the half marathon, practise using energy boosters and get a feel for when you think is the best time to dip into those reserves.
With a solid plan in place, you’ll be confident you’re going to nail the race!
Blog by Stuart Appleby a running blogger for the Winchester Half Marathon and ABP Southampton Marathon websites. When he is not writing, Stuart can mostly be found training for his next marathon.